This year Leder Chimica, based in Arzignano (Vicenza) launched a new biodegradable tanning process. Further steps forward full sustainability
Leder Chimica, leader in the production of chemical products for leather, destined to different sectors, such as clothing, furniture, footwear, automotive, leatherware, upholstery and interiors, continues its path towards ever greater sustainability. During the last two years, the Arzignanobased company, founded in 1986 by Gastone Zanconato and now led by his son Michele and grandchildren Enrico and Filippo, developed a special liming technology called DSS which, combined with LBF tanning, guarantees both high quality leather and a low environmental impact, boasting excellent results that were registered from specific biodegradability tests.
“The news of 2022 – confirmed Filippo Zanconato, whom we interviewed at the headquarters in mid-July – are essentially two. The first is the DSS liming process, which has finally entered production, thus closing the circle of a project, obviously patented, in which we strongly believed and invested a lot of resources. The second innovation, equally important for our growth plan, is the development of a new biodegradable tanning process, called LBF Tanning, which is free from aldehyde, metals and vegetables and featuring a very low bisphenol content. This process will further enhance our know-how and product range.”
Do these two innovations represent cornerstones for the future?
“Absolutely. DSS ecological liming process, which is proving to be a winning weapon, is lime and sulphide free. It took a long time, but we consciously wanted to proceed carefully and thoroughly especially during the R&D phase: we’ve been working on it for almost 4 years now, it was patented 2 years ago and only in recent months, as mentioned, we started to produce it. The advantages are many and we received recognition both in terms of the environment but also of quality.”
What are the main qualitative advantages of the DSS process?
“This process doesn’t require any need for lime, sulfhydrate nor sulphide during hair removal and it also guarantees a wider choice thanks to the excellent grain quality and to a complete mantle stain elimination. This feature is essential for those tanneries producing high-range leathers, as they usually require animal coats with very specific colors.
From the point of view of sustainability, thanks to our process, the COD and TKN values in wastewater are lower, thus favoring a much safer work environment, free of bad odors and volatile gases as dangerous as H2S during the deliming and pickel phase.
Our studies suggest that the waste baths of our process have a high protein content, free from harmful substances and can therefore be exploited in other sectors, without necessarily being destined for the waste water disposal system.”
How is this technology spreading on the market?
“It’s going very well, because the great leap in quality from an ecological point of view and, above all, in terms of specifications is outstanding. In particular, we were approached by high fashion brands, which were very interested in the water recycling system and the almost total elimination of toxic products. An aspect that we have ascertained to be essential mostly abroad, where, unlike here, there are no large and structured tanning districts: often that company is the only one in a specific area, therefore the absence of odors is very important. Currently our export share is substantially in balance, we believe that these projects will let us grow both in Italy and abroad. These new technologies are in demand in Europe, in some countries of the East and of course in the United States.”
Insiders have no doubts that environmental sustainability represents the frontier of the future…
“We are convinced of it, too. Our merit, but we also our ability, was to foresee the times, now we can introduce ourselves with a prestigious ‘business card’, namely our LBF tanning process. It is no longer just a problem of legislation, now it is a binding choice, given that the big brands are willing to cooperate only according to certain credentials. Let’s not forget that every year the regulations are more and more stringent: new rules are in force for 2022 and it is now clear that the common will is to progressively eliminate the aldehyde, as well as the chrome. The next step will probably concern the reduction of bisphenols. We necessarily wanted to anticipate the times, avoiding the risk of facing a problem to be solved in a short time. Therefore, the path to follow is that of sustainability, hoping that this happens with facts not only with mere words.”
What will be the main events you will attend in the second half of 2022?
“From 18 to 20 September we will attend the EuroCongress, scheduled at the Vicenza fair, where we will have our own and we will present the DSS liming process, being one of the projects chosen by the jury. We are very proud of this because it was considered innovative and worthy of attention. Our work will be displayed in a large showcase too, supported by panels, in an open area and thus available for consultation by professionals.”